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Thursday, 8th April 2021

Dawn Meats application underlines need for vigilance on water and air quality

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A sewer flowing into the River Boyne opposite the junction of the Donore Road and the R132 (John Street). Photo by Andy Spearman taken from the Haymarket Bridge.

Irish Water told to deal with smell from Waste Water Treatment Plant

Several other waste outlets need to be considered also

The Dawn Meats planning application for a pipeline to transfer waste water into the Boyne has prompted a welcome debate about the value of clean water and the environment generally.

Dawn Meats says that the water they wish to pump into the river will be clean to very high standards having passed through a state of the art water treatment plant but the worry is of course that mistakes are always possible and accidents do happen.

You don’t need a long memory to know that pipes do burst – who can forget queueing for water when that pipe burst at the Staleen water plant during the summer of 2017?

The current debate is of course good but there are many other outflows into the river as anyone who walks along the riverbank with their eyes open can observe. In Drogheda alone there are several pipes running day and night and are particularly visible at low tide. They need to be dealt with also.

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Another issue that has been running for years, one that the residents at Weir Hope have frequently complained about, is the bad smell coming from the waste water treatment plant just up the road from them on the Mornington Road.

Irish Water has responded to their complaints, and those of people in other areas, by first of all denying that there were any smells and then, when the complaints continued, promising to look into the matter.

Local TD Fergus O’Dowd has been doggedly chasing Irish Water on the issue for years, he called in the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) who carried out a site inspection in June 2020 and they had no problem detectng bad smells emanating from the plant. 

The EPA instructed Irish Water to engage more closely with the local community and provide them with details of the corrective actions and time frames for resolving the odour issues. They also said that the resolution of odour issues from Drogheda Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) is a priority for them.

Earlier this week the EPA issued Irish Water with a formal direction setting out a series of actions to be taken take over the coming months to address the malodours.

These actions include:

  • Ensure the WWTP is operated and maintained at all times to ensure it avoids causing nuisance through odours.
  • Carry out odour supressing dosing on the East Meath Network.
  • Carry out weekly monitoring of waste water at a number of locations in the WWTP until the end of September 2021 and take corrective actions in the event the monitoring results indicate a potential risk of generating nuisance odours.
  • Complete an odour source audit, odour monitoring and odour modelling report over the summer to quantify and rank the odour sources for the entire site.

And so the to-and-fro of letters between agencies continues.

Deputy O’Dowd told Drogheda Life that he will continue to press both Irish Water and the EPA until such time that the required works are completed. “I hope to have an updated report from Irish Water shortly” he said. 

Members of the public should report odours directly to Irish Water's call centre which operates 24/7 on 1850 278 278.  

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